The Junior School Symposium
The Junior School Symposium is an established annual event in the curriculum – a central tenet of free and memorable learning. Starting in 2015, we team up with James Allen’s Girls’ Junior School and Dulwich Wood Primary School, with children working together on different workshops, issues and activities. To date, themes have included ‘Movement’, ‘Pattern and Chaos’, ‘Time’, ‘Conflict and Resolution’, ‘Our World’, ‘Colour and our theme for 2023 was ‘Empathy’.
Teachers from the Junior and Senior Schools and outside providers ensure a range of challenging, thought-provoking sessions for all. If any pupil feels apprehensive about working with new children, their fears are quickly dispelled; discussions become lively as confidence builds. In all the varied sessions, it is lovely to see groups of girls and boys working constructively together: focused, engaged and thoughtful. By the end of the day, every child has experienced a range of challenges to delve deeply into; discovering the theme through thinking, exploring, problem-solving, discussing, debating, analysing, evaluating and creating.
Activities really do vary. In our most recent ‘Empathy’ theme, students enjoyed a puppeteer exploring how we communicate and recognise emotions – even from the movement of just a piece of paper. Pupils also learned about the musical workshop to compose emotions, the psychology of altruism, what feelings do when no one is looking, dancing in someone else’s shoes and silent empathy when the whole session was conducted without speaking - just a few of the many activities on offer.
A rapidly growing aspect of the day is strengthening links with other schools in the Dulwich College community around the world. Dulwich College Singapore host a Symposium too. Short films created by talented crews in each school were then circulated so the children could connect with their peers around the world. This growing bond around such an exciting initiative makes it a truly global event.
Deputy Head Academic